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Yet another jantzen review...

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
"Just went to pick up the shirt with my friend (I didn't make one, although it is REALLY cheap for a custom shirt).  I was wearing the Brioni soft yellow check shirt, button-down, and the owner/tailor Ricky Ho really liked it.    He wanted to make me some pants as he has some new Italian super 150's, so maybe I'll try---you know my chief reason for not having a shirt made by him is because of the fabric, and he seems to know it.  Now that he is talking highly about the pants fabric, maybe I'll give it a try, though it will come out to be around US$200, as that's his best fabric.  Anyway, my initial opinions of the shirt (my friend has not worn it yet):  Fabric still doesn't look good.  It looks like really low gauge/thread count cotton, and to a certain extent, even coarse---but that's just to my eyes.  There is just not enough natural shine from the fibre, and the machine stitching all around just makes it look even stiffer.  Monogram was machine embroidered, very stiff.  Collar style was ok, nothing that will make you drool, but it was still folded in a bag, so I will leave more detailed comments on the collar later.  I didn't like the buttons very much.  I later found out that they were Chinese-made/cut MOP buttons; no wonder there wasn't any pearly glow in them.  The pattern matching on the split back yoke was ok.  I am not going to say whether it was worth it--however, if all you are looking for is a custom shirt, then you've found your place.  I am still not convinced."
post #2 of 27
Yeah, it's tough to tell with their fabrics, especially if you're ordering off the Internet like I am. Example: I now have two Jantzen shirts, made with the same "Italian 110's 2-ply cotton" and one feels soft and the other feels like stiffer broadcloth. Still, these are light-years away from whatever I can get over here. Want to see a really, really sad custom shirt? Get one made here in Seoul. They don't even carry mother-of-pearl buttons of any type. (To their credit, I did get a very good shirt made with cotton from Albini. I'll just need to see if I can't get some thick mop buttons, tear out the old plastic ones, and find a seamstress who is willing to do a quick swap.)
post #3 of 27
I have two Jantzen Tailor shirts.  The fabrics are decent but not great particularly when compared to some of the fabrics used by Marol, Fray, Borrelli, etc.  Even the finest cottons will never have the sheen of silk, though.  On one shirt all the buttons are carefully sewn on by hand with a shank.  On the other the collar and cuff buttons are attached by hand with a shank but the others are attached(not particularly well) by machine.  I found the patterns, even on the split yoke, to have been carefully matched, something which cannot be said for the Borrelli shirts I own, on which it looks like they just slapped on the sleeve placket and sewed it on however it fell, even for a simple stripe.  The buttons probably didn't have much of a shine because I don't think that they are cut from the same shells as MOP - they might be troca or another shell, which may be generically referred to as MOP. Jantzen has available basically every customizable feature under the sun, and is really a bargain at $38($43 including shipping.
post #4 of 27
i don't see how naturlaut can say the fabric looks stiff if he only saw it inside a plastic bag. i agree that the fabric quality of their shirts varies greatly. i now have four of them with another on the way, and two of them really stand out above the other two. concerning the stitching. machine stitching looks and feels more durable to me. men's clothes, even of the dressy type, should be durable. i really hate yellow, so as for their buttons, i actually like their mops because they're not as yellowish as the ones i've seen on high end shirts. for white shirts i prefer clear plastic, or in jantzen's case, the grey trocas, over mop. i think it's best not to compare jantzen shirts to expensive custom shirts, but to the rtw shirts so many men buy. i have all my custom shirts made in the exact same style, and i like to wear my own design. i know naturlaut likes kiton shirts, but if i wore one of those, i'd feel like i was wearing some generic design that every man in italy is wearing right now. i watch italian television, and when something is in style, it seems everybody follows it. whatever quips one might have about some of their fabrics, they beat any rtw shirt hands down, for the personalisation factor alone.
post #5 of 27
I should hope that Kiton shirts are nicer, at about ten times the cost for off-the-rack. Quite simply, you'll never find OTR shirts nicer than Jantzen shirts until you start paying at least two or three times the price, on sale.
post #6 of 27
Quote:
whatever quips one might have about some of their fabrics, they beat any rtw shirt hands down, for the personalisation factor alone.
I agree with this highly. The department stores here sell shirts at hugely inflated prices, around $60-$80 for one. I can get some dirt-cheap shirts somewhere else, but there's no promise on fit. Getting a custom shirt for less than a rtw one is, in my situation, a huge bargain. Still, I'd really love to see a high-end shirt one day. I wouldn't buy it of course, because I'm a little spastic and probably will spill a drink on it the first night I'm wearing it
post #7 of 27
High-end department stores mark up MTM/custom shirts 2.2-2.5 times the wholesale cost to them, with the higher markups being for the more expensive; makers include Ike Behar(up to ~$390), Y Apre(up to $500), etc.  Unlike ready to wear shirts, there is no hope of getting them on sale.
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
Quote:
i don't see how naturlaut can say the fabric looks stiff if he only saw it inside a plastic bag. i agree that the fabric quality of their shirts varies greatly. i now have four of them with another on the way, and two of them really stand out above the other two.  concerning the stitching. machine stitching looks and feels more durable to me. men's clothes, even of the dressy type, should be durable.  I don't see how machine stitching enhances the durability of an article of clothing.  It certainly doesn't enhance the comfort level. i really hate yellow, so as for their buttons, i actually like their mops because they're not as yellowish as the ones i've seen on high end shirts. for white shirts i prefer clear plastic, or in jantzen's case, the grey trocas, over mop.  To each his own, I suppose.  But plastic buttons...no thanks. i think it's best not to compare jantzen shirts to expensive custom shirts, but to the rtw shirts so many men buy. i have all my custom shirts made in the exact same style, and i like to wear my own design. i know naturlaut likes kiton shirts, but if i wore one of those, i'd feel like i was wearing some generic design that every man in italy is wearing right now. i watch italian television, and when something is in style, it seems everybody follows it.  good point.  But Kiton shirts are hardly "generic".  I highly doubt that every man in Italy is wearing one right now.  And even if Martians wore Kiton shirts, I wouldn't be swayed one way or the other. whatever quips one might have about some of their fabrics, they beat any rtw shirt hands down, for the personalisation factor alone.  So personlisation is the overriding factor all together?  For me it's fabric and fit.
Sorry, I should have clarified at the beginning that naturlaut was the one who personally made all the choices as far as fabric, collar, etc. for his friend's custom shirt.
post #9 of 27
I strongly believe that machine stitching is the way to go with shirts. I wash my shirts in my washing machine on the delicate cycle. It does a great job on my shirts, but on the Kiton shirts in particular(and Borrelli, though to a lesser degree), the hand stitches(those near the bottom of the armhole) which close the sleeve attachment tend to come undone. My Marol, Charvet, and Lorenzini shirts(only the Marol shirts have any hand stitching - the buttonholes) come out wonderfully. If fabric and fit are what's most important then the accuracy of the cut/pattern, not hand stitching, which will provide comfort. And to have a shirt cut accurately I would much rather go custom than with an expensive MTM such as Kiton. Unlike for suits, hand stitching for shirts does not really serve to shape the garment any better than machine stitching. Also, Kiton's hand-rolled botton hem and hand-closed side seams look a little bulky for my taste, unlike the thin, neatly machine-sewn side seams and bottom hem of Marol and Borrelli. Especially if I were to spend a great deal of money on a shirt then personalization would be quite important. I have often seen shirts in beautiful fabric, well-made, but the styling convinced me not to buy.
post #10 of 27
Quote:
I wash my shirts in my washing machine on the delicate cycle. It does a great job on my shirts, but on the Kiton shirts in particular(and Borrelli, though to a lesser degree), the hand stitches(those near the bottom of the armhole) which close the sleeve attachment tend to come undone.
I own a lot of Borrelli shirts, appx. 25 at the moment, and have probably sold 100 more. Plus I've easily examined a thousand or more used Borrelli shirts in consignment and thrift stores. None of the handstitching has ever come unraveled on any of my shirts and I cannot recall a single case in which I saw loose stitching on a used shirt, even one that was heavily worn. So I do not think it's fair to say that it is characteristic of a handmade shirt for the stitching to come loose.
post #11 of 27
I wrote that the only hand stitching I found to come loose is that which closes the sleeve attachment, specifically the stitches near the bottom of the armhole, and that in my experience it was on my Kiton shirts and to a (much) lesser extent on my Borrelli shirts. I also do not like the look of the loose hand stitches at the side seams and bottom hem of Kiton shirts. I did not indicate that it is characteristic of all hand sewing. "Tailors trained in the Neapolitan manner believe looser hand stitches allow more movement." None of the stitches have come undone on my other "handmade" shirts.
post #12 of 27
thracozaag, i understand what you mean about plastic buttons, but on a solid white shirt, i really think clear looks better than yellow. if there were a natural material (glass?) that was used to make clear buttons, i'd certainly opt for that over plastic. when it comes to clothes, i think looks are paramount. for example, if you offered me a handmade cashmere suit, i'd be interested, but if you told me it was mustard yellow, i'd say no thanks, even though the construction and materials were excellent. when i said "personalisation", i was including fit into the equation. i know not every guy in italy is wearing a kiton shirt, but from what i see, every guy in a suit is wearing a high, wide spread collar, with a loosely tied windsor knot, even the young guys. every italian dress shirt i've seen in the last 4 or 5 years has the same type of collar. look at the guys in a collared shirt not wearing a tie, and you'll notice almost every single one of them has a two-button collar. i'm not saying it looks bad or anything, it's just not my style. it's someone else's.
post #13 of 27
Quote:
It does a great job on my shirts, but on the Kiton shirts in particular(and Borrelli, though to a lesser degree), the hand stitches(those near the bottom of the armhole) which close the sleeve attachment tend to come undone.  
That has not been my experience. I have a couple of Kiton shirts and considerably more Borrelli shirts, some of which I have had for years and have laundered many dozens of times. I've never had any of the hand stitching come undone.
Quote:
If fabric and fit are what's most important then the accuracy of the cut/pattern, not hand stitching, which will provide comfort.  And to have a shirt cut accurately I would much rather go custom than with an expensive MTM such as Kiton.  Unlike for suits, hand stitching for shirts does not really serve to shape the garment any better than machine stitching.
Again, that hasn't been my experience. I have found that the shoulders, arm-holes, and collar of my Borrelli shirts adjust to my body and fit better over time. That just doesn't happen with my machine-sewn shirts.
Quote:
Also, Kiton's hand-rolled botton hem and hand-closed side seams look a little bulky for my taste, unlike the thin, neatly machine-sewn side seams and bottom hem of Marol and Borrelli.  Especially if I were to spend a great deal of money on a shirt then personalization would be quite important.  I have often seen shirts in beautiful fabric, well-made, but the styling convinced me not to buy.
The side seams on Kiton shirts are about as unobtrusive and as close to being not there as side seams can possibly be. They're not bulky in the least.
post #14 of 27
Again, it's the apearance of the side seams and bottom hem that I do not like.  The fit of pretty much all of my shirts is good.  I just don't think that it makes a difference if the stitches are made by machine or by hand.  If the cut is off to begin with then all the hand stitching in the world probably wouldn't make it fit me after years of wear.  Fine cotton shrinks and "adapts" only so much; mercerization of both the fabric and the thread is meant to prevent excessive shrinkage.  When you say that your handsewn shirts adjust to you better than your machine-sewn shirts, I assume that you are comparing shirts of comparable quality. e.g. Kiton vs Marol.  Otherwise the comparison may not be fair. Extensive hand sewing of shirts is not found in many places outside Italy, yet one can find excellent machine-sewn custom and ready-to-wear shirts in England(Jermyn Street), France(Charvet), the USA(various makers), and in Hong Kong(example: Ascot Chang).
post #15 of 27
Quote:
If the cut is off to begin with then all the hand stitching in the world probably wouldn't make it fit me after years of wear.  
But this is is true of any garment. I would much rather have a well-cut machine-made suit than a poorly-cut hand-made one. I'd take well-fitting Alden shoes any day over handmade shoes made by an incompetent.
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Fine cotton shrinks and "adapts" only so much; mercerization of both the fabric and the thread is meant to prevent excessive shrinkage.  
I'm not talking abou shrinkage. I'm talking about a hand-made garment conforming to your body contours.
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When you say that your handsewn shirts adjust to you better than your machine-sewn shirts, I assume that you are comparing shirts of comparable quality. e.g. Kiton vs Marol.  Otherwise the comparison may not be fair.  
Of course.
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Extensive hand sewing of shirts is not found in many places outside Italy, yet one can find excellent machine-sewn custom and ready-to-wear shirts in England(Jermyn Street), France(Charvet), the USA(various makers), and in Hong Kong(example: Ascot Chang).
I'm not disputing that there are many excellent machine-made shirts out there. I'm not disputing that a machine-made shirt can be superior to a hand-made shirt. I'm just disputing that hand sewing on a shirt has no value.
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